September 4th, 2011

andrew potter

Greetings from Mount Vernon, Baltimore

Mount Vernon is a neighborhood located just to the north of downtown Baltimore, Maryland. Designated a National Landmark Historic District and a city Cultural District, it is one of the city's oldest neighborhoods and originally was home to the city's most wealthy and fashionable families. The name derives from the Mount Vernon home of George Washington; the original Washington Monument, a massive pillar commenced in 1815 to commemorate the first president of the United States, is the defining feature of the neighborhood. (Picture: City Cafe by Robert McClintock)

This Baltimore neighborhood has a reputation as a gay village. A number of Baltimore’s most prominent gay bars are located here so there are plenty of things to do, and the sight of same sex couples holding hands and showing affection is very common.

The Baltimore City Planning Commission defines the neighborhood as being bound by Eager Street to the North, The Jones Falls Expressway (JFX) to the east, Franklin Street to the South, and Eutaw Street to the West. The Commission also considers the northern section to be the Midtown-Belvedere neighborhood after the Belvidere estate of John Eager Howard, the Revolutionary War patriot. The Inner Harbor is about half a mile south of Centre Street.

Being close to downtown, Mount Vernon is well-served by public transit. Many area major bus routes head through the neighborhood on their way to the financial district including the Purple line of Charm City Circulator which runs through Mt. Vernon on Northbound on Charles Street and southbound on St. Paul street. The Light Rail line runs down Howard Street on the west edge of the neighborhood, and the Metro Subway runs beneath Eutaw Street a block west of that; both have stations within easy walking distance of the neighborhood. Penn Station, served by Amtrak and MARC commuter rail, is also one block to the north past Mount Royal Avenue and over the JFX.

Baltimore, Mount Vernon

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andrew potter

Rachmaninoff by S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet

I’m not really an expert of vampire novels, but I think this one by S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet is pretty much adherent to an old classic vampire novels. There is an ancient vampire, Nikola, who not only was a feudal lord who was turned against his will, but he was, and still is, from East Europe. At the time when Nikola was turned he lived somewhere in deep Russia, in the XVII century, when the land was fascinating but a little barbaric. If I have to be true, Nikola doesn’t appear to be a strong man, but more someone of the intelligentsia, someone who is more used to win his battle with his mind more than his body. And indeed he is now a renowned expert in historic and music, who is willingly taking a young pupil under his roof for an year of teaching him not only school lessons but also about life.

Aric is a child prodigy, already touring in concert at 13 years old, and now at 19 he is “burned”; he has no more urge to learn, he feels as he has no strings, not with his country or his parents. When his father plans to leave him in Serbia with Nikola, Aric has little choice, but it’s not that he complains a lot, really. One place equals another, and mostly Aric wants to loose himself, and his chosen way is to have sex with stranger, with whoever and whenever he has a chance.

The secret of his tutor being a vampire is not really well kept, and it’s not long that Aric confronts Nikola; and as simply as that Nikola confirms that he is a more than 500 years old vampire. Aric turns his pursue of distraction from life from sex to Nikola: he agrees to now have sex with strangers if Nikola tells him more of his life. Now, as I said, it’s not that Nikola is really hiding he is a vampire: he dresses like in the XVII century, he teaches his lesson from sunset to dawn, and he never eats or drinks; and the secrets that he tells to Aric are more or less what you can learn on East Europe vampires. But for Aric is another game, another way to forget he has not really a life for him to come back or a family welcoming him. Listening about Nikola’s loneliness is a way to believe he is not the only one in the world with such emptiness inside him.

The story moves along the usual path of the vampire novels, with even the European grand tour (all by night) that often you see in these vampire novels or movies. I think the main difference is actually Nikola, and his “weakness”: I’m not saying he is weak in a derogative way, but he has not the usual strength you are used to read for vampire; he has plenty of questions on his life and desire, he is unsure, often scared of his own feelings. True, he makes some right moves regarding Aric, allowing him to grew into a man he can love, but all in all, I found Aric stronger than Nikola, in his loneliness, in his anger and in the end, in his love.

Buy Here

Amazon: Rachmaninoff
Amazon Kindle: Rachmaninoff
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Storm Moon Press LLC (December 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982700830
ISBN-13: 978-0982700839

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Nathie